What is it?
tendency to judge a person
in an unpleasant situation in a
bad light, and attribute her/his
behavior to internal causes and
qualities rather than
understanding the situation or
circumstances that may cause
the person to behave in that
Why we make attributions
Knowing why others do what they do helps
us predict behavior
Sometimes we attribute behavior to internal
factors instead of external factors
Pen clicking-annoying. Have you ever
thought someone was trying to annoy
you when they were just being
Mrs. Kerns example
Application to Medieval Hx
Can you think of a time from the lessons
when a group of people made internal
attributions about another
group, causing or exacerbating
persecution or conflict?
Blood Libel- FAE allowed a great deal of
anti-Semitism to occur. Jews in Europe
were accused of murdering children and
using their blood in rituals.
Portrayals of Jewish people in many
forms of Media, painting, prints and
songs depicted them as having many
Most propaganda uses our tendency to make
the FAE in order to make an outgroup seem
more evil, alien or less human
This can increase ingroup cohesion, which
may allow for increased taxation or
conscription, or even help one group behave
violently toward another
Most racist beliefs are based on some form of
Someone is having trouble starting their car. You
decide to help the person by giving her a piece of
advice on something they should do to get the car
started. The person shoots you down, snaps at
you, or just ignores you. You get angry yourself and
dismiss the person as a rude, misbehaved individual
who does not value the help someone is trying to
offer. It is possible that a lot of people have offered the
person the same piece of advice that you did and it
didn't work; or that the person has already had a
rough day and the car getting spoiled was the cherry
on the icing. This is another example of a
fundamental attribution error.
He/She does _______________
because he is ______________
This excludes examination of external
factors and simplifies human behavior
into simple, predetermined roles niches.
Would do a group activity, but you are
either too nice, too smart or both for that
to work, sooooo….
Groupthink, a term coined by social psychologist
Irving Janis (1972), occurs when a group makes
faulty decisions because group pressures lead to
a deterioration of “mental efficiency, reality
testing, and moral judgment” (p. 9). Groups
affected by groupthink ignore alternatives and tend
to take irrational actions that dehumanize other
groups. A group is especially vulnerable to
groupthink when its members are similar in
background, when the group is insulated from
outside opinions, and when there are no clear
rules for decision making.
Groupthink occurs when a group of
people become more concerned with
maintaining consensus and harmony
than reaching a good decision.
Some examples of groupthink: Bay of
Pigs, Rejection of MS windows, Space
Shuttle challenger explosion, the
decision to hire Mr. Kerns and
many, many others.
Decision experts have determined that groupthink may be
prevented by adopting some of the following measures:
a) The leader should assign the role of critical evaluator to each
b) The leader should avoid stating preferences and expectations
at the outset
c) Each member of the group should routinely discuss the groups'
deliberations with a trusted associate and report back to the group
on the associate's reactions
d) One or more experts should be invited to each meeting on a
staggered basis. The outside experts should be encouraged to
challenge views of the members.
e) At least one articulate and knowledgeable member should be
given the role of devil's advocate (to question assumptions and
f) The leader should make sure that a sizeable block of time is set
aside to survey warning signals from rivals; leader and group
construct alternative scenarios of rivals' intentions.
How does this apply?
Big picture- imagine you are a Byzantine
Citizen and Theodora is trying to
convince you to cut down a defenseless
enemy, how might she use FAE, Risky
shift or ingroup/outgroup bias or
groupthink to get you to do this?
How might you have defended yourself
Should be a snapshot/preview of your
Should be thought provoking
Should be concise, not run on
A slight challenge to the reader will elicit
Be aware of assimilation vs. contrast
Always be able to back yourself up with
Remember- “While it is easy to lie with
statistics, it is even easier to lie without
Mr. Kerns is making you write about who
your favorite history teacher is this year.
Mr. Kerns apparently has no sense
My Thesis Sentence
“While Mr. and Mrs. Kerns are both
great teachers, Mr. Kerns generally goes
above and beyond in terms of choosing
shirts and apparel which maximize
classroom learning potential, making
him the better educator.”
Mr. and Mrs. Kerns are both
great teachers, Mr. Kerns generally
goes above and beyond in terms of
choosing shirts and apparel which
maximize classroom learning
potential, making him the better
Thesis statement/point of your paper
1 Citation in APA
An example from Medieval History
that can be connected to:
Ingroup/Outgroup or Observer Bias
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